“Welcome to what I presume is your first alien planet. Don’t touch anything!”-The Doctor
The Doctor (played by Jodie Whittaker) and her new friends Yaz (Mandip Gil), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh) have found themselves on a baron planet know as “Desolation”. The atmosphere and the water are toxic. What looks like a once beautiful alien planet is now a dangerous ruin. The Doctor and her friends were saved from the void of space by a pair of game contestants named Angstrom (Susan Lynch) and Epzo (Shaun Dooley). Angstrom and Epzo are the two final racers in what feels like a Hunger Games style competition. The big prize is an insane amount of wealth and protection. The big risk is dying or being stranded on this Alien planet. Both participants have their own personal reasons for risking their lives and the tension is high. They accidentally brought The Doctor and her friends along with them as they were about to enter the final leg of the race.
The final challenge in the race puts them all of them in search of the only way off this planet: “The Ghost Monument”. According to previous inhabitants of the planet a mysterious monument appears and reappears in the same location like a ghost. We soon find out that it is actually not a ghost or a monument, but in fact the Doctor’s spaceship, the TARDIS. The TARDIS is unable to land correctly on the planet because the planet is out of orbit. The TARDIS is stuck in a weird situation where it can not properly materialize. Making it seem like a ghost. This planet being out of orbit isn’t the only strange thing happening. The group of six must now work together to find the Ghost Monument and to stay alive among the monsters, robots, toxic water and all manner of creepy science experiments that have turned this planet into a death trap. The team soon discovers that it is the Stenza who have made the planet inhospitable. Yes, the same Stenza (Tooth Face People) from the last episode. At some point the Stenza turned the planet into a place to test and create weapons of destruction. It seems the Stenza situation was not a one episode dilemma after all and maybe something that will be carried out all season. Perhaps the TARDIS chose to land (or tried to land) on this planet because the TARDIS knew this is where the Doctor needed to be.
In true campy and family friendly Doctor Who style, every one survives the dangerous trek through the planet to the area where the Ghost Monument is said to appear. It was a great “Just this once everybody lives” moment as the two finalist, Angstrom and Epzo, finish heir race hand in hand and requesting to split the grand prize equally. It is a happy ending for the two contestant who are then are transported off the plant together to receive their prize. The Doctor and her friends are stranded on the planet with no way off. The Doctor begins to lose faith and hope. She is no longer sure they will survive the night let alone get off this planet. Yaz, Ryan and Graham have been super supportive this entire time. Keeping their freak outs minimal and their doubts almost completely to each other. Reassuring one another that every one will get out of this OK. As they attempt to comfort and reassure The Doctor that they will find a way, the TARDIS begins to materialize. The sounds of the TARDIS engines give hope to the Doctor. Using her sonic she calls out to her TARDIS!
“Come to daddy. I mean mummy. I mean, I really need you right now…”- The Doctor
And so the TARDIS arrives. The TARDIS has redecorated herself on the outside on on the inside. Much to the Doctor’s approval. This is the scene that makes the entire episode worth it. The Doctor is seeing her TARDIS with her brand news eyes. She is seeing the TARDIS in a way she hadn’t design. It is all a surprise to her. She is seeing it for the first time along with her friends. The Doctor has been traveling in her TARDIS for thousands of years but today it feels new to her. She isn’t taking her TARDIS for granted. The TARDIS is completely new. The beige and dark color interior is reminiscent of the 9th and 10th Doctor’s TARDIS. But the new biscuit dispenser in the TARDIS feels like something the 11th Doctor would have loved. The TARDIS is both something old and something new. The excitement and the wonder reminds us of why we love Doctor Who. Seeing the Doctor start up her TARDIS and swagger off with her new friends was by far the highlight of the episode.
Doctor Who airs on Sunday Nights at 8pm on BBC America